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Homebirth Supplies

Homebirth Supplies

Having a homebirth can be a gloriously life changing event. Planning and preparing for a homebirth can be an exciting experience too as you collect together the supplies you’ll need. But what do you need? This article aims to detail the most common homebirth supplies you’ll need to have on hand during your labour, for the birth, and after.

For labour

Labour requires lots of energy, courage and self-belief. But beyond these important yet intangible things there are some homebirth supplies which can help to make you more comfortable.

A birth pool can allow you take advantage of the soothing benefits of submersion during in water during labour and/or birth and makes a great addition to your homebirth supplies. PBB is Australia’s largest stockist of birth pools and provides a range of single and multiple use pools to suit different budgets. You will also require a pump to inflate the pool and a strainer or debris scoop for removing debris. You may also like to purchase a submersible pump to make emptying the pool easier.

Wheat or hot packs or a hot water bottle make a great start to your homebirth supplies. Heat can be very soothing during labour by helping to relieve pain and providing comforting warmth. The PBB store provides self-heating packs in a range of shapes and sizes.

Four or five cloth nappies to use as hot compresses are also great to have on hand amongst your homebirth supplies. When soaked in hot water the nappies can be placed over a larger area of your body than hot packs, mould to the area, and tend to ‘stick’ to your skin making them less likely to fall when you move. They also won’t be damages if they fall in the birth pool! Don’t forget a bucket to soak the nappies in and a pair of rubber gloves to be worn when wringing out your hot compresses.

Labour Aide is an electrolyte replacement that can be used during labour. Labour is like exercising heavily in that it causes depletion in your electrolytes which are essential to the functioning of your cells. A little like sports drinks, Labour Aide works to replace these electrolytes and give you energy. Labour Aide can be made at home and added to your homebirth supplies in the last weeks of your pregnancy. Alternatively Endura Magnesium Rehydration Formula can be purchased from health food or sports stores.

Labour Aide Recipe

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 crushed calcium tablet

1/3 cup lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and then add even quantities of water and juice to taste (apple, blackcurrant or cranberry) to make the mixture up to 2 litres. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

Incontinence pads are very useful to have on hand when your waters break (and after the birth) and are much more absorbent than sanitary pads. Incontinence pads can be purchased online through the PBB store, or from supermarkets and pharmacies. Buy these early on to add to your homebirth supplies.

Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic Bach Flower remedy which is particularly useful in supporting the body and mind during stressful or traumatic situations. PBB stocks Rescue Remedy in the form of drops, pastilles and a spray. Rescue Remedy can also be purchased through your Homeopath or from good health food stores.

Lip Balm or Lanolin can be wonderful to sooth lips that can become dry and sore as a result of mouth breathing during labour. Pick your favourite and add it into your homebirth supplies.

Socks might sound like an odd addition to your homebirth supplies but having cold feet is unpleasant for most, and no less so during labour!

Don’t forget to have your Pregnancy Folder on hand including your Medicare Number, health insurance number and yellow card in case of hospital transfer.

For the Birth

An oxygen cylinder is important to have in your birth supplies in case your baby needs a little help after birth. Hire an oxygen cylinder 2-3 weeks prior to your baby’s expected birth date. Your midwife will provide you with details on how to organise this.

A placenta container will be used by your midwife to place your baby’s placenta in after the birth. A 4-litre ice cream container will do the job nicely as will any similar sized container or bowl. Add one to your homebirth supplies, lined with a plastic bag.

Floor and furniture coverings are an important and sometimes overlooked necessity in your homebirth supplies. A tarp, plastic sheeting or a drop sheet, all available from PBB’s online store or hardware stores, can be great for covering floors. Old sheets and towels can be used for covering beds and furniture.

Don’t forget to have your camera and video gear ready with charged batteries, and spare ones just in case!

After the Birth

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy which can aid recovery after the birth. PBB stocks Arnica Oral Spray which can also be purchased through your Homeopath or from good health food stores.

A Homeopathic Birth and Postnatal Kit is most certainly not essential but something you might like to add to your homebirth supplies. Many Homeopaths specialising in pregnancy and birth offer their own kits. The PBB store offers the Embracing Safety Homeopathic Birth and Postnatal Kit for purchase online.

You baby’s first set of clothes will make an exciting addition to your homebirth supplies! Nothing elaborate is required and in fact simple is best. A nappy, singlet, short or long jumpsuit, booties/socks and wrap depending on the season.

Sanitary maternity pads will be required in addition to the incontinence pads we mentioned earlier. Purchase at least two packets. Sanitary maternity pads can be purchased online through the PBB store, or from supermarkets and pharmacies. Buy these early on to add to your homebirth supplies.

Kool Pops or similar children’s ice blocks are ideal for icing the perineal area after birth. Alternatively condoms filled with water, tied and frozen will also do the job.

A peri bottle is also useful for washing the perineum after passing urine to soothe stinging. The PBB store has peri bottles available for purchase. A plastic sauce bottle from the supermarket will also do the job.

Don’t forget to have some salt on hand in your homebirth supplies for removing blood stains on carpets, mats and furniture.

Written 14 Mar 2014 for www.birthpool.net.au

Yvette Barton has a Bachelor of Education and currently works as both an eLearning Adviser for Swinburne Online Learning, and as a freelance writer and editor. Yvette is a fierce advocate for homebirth, women’s rights to choose where they labour and birth, and trained midwives’ rights to attend birthing women without governmental constraints. Yvette is also an advocate for natural and adoptive breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, conscious parenting, and child advocacy. Yvette lives in Sydney with her two daughters.

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